Archive for April, 2008

Fox News anchors think Abraham Lincoln ran for President against a black man. Those were such progressive days after all. In this clip, the TV hosts discuss the stupidity of their intern while never noticing that the photo that is meant to be Lincoln’s opponent Stephen Douglas is actually abolitionist Frederick Douglas.

Nice work dumb asses.

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You’re Not a Lesbian!

A Greek court has been asked to draw the line between the natives of the Aegean Sea island of Lesbos and the world’s gay women.

Three islanders from Lesbos – home of the ancient poet Sappho, who praised love between women – have taken a gay rights group to court for using the word lesbian in its name.

One of the plaintiffs said Wednesday that the name of the association, Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece, “insults the identity” of the people of Lesbos, who are also known as Lesbians.

“My sister can’t say she is a Lesbian,” said Dimitris Lambrou. “Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos,” he said.

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Can there be anything more flagrant than offering to suspend the gas tax for the purpose of getting elected president of the United States?

Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain are pushing for a gas-tax holiday, but Sen. Barack Obama says the plan is a quick fix that would do more harm than good.

McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, was the first to propose a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax.

His plan would lift the 18.4 cents per gallon tax during peak summer travel months. It also would suspend the 24.4 cent diesel tax.

Clinton, who rejected a similar idea in 2000, said her plan is different from McCain’s. She said the Republican’s proposal would cost the government up to $10 billion — money that is used to improve roads.

Obama does not support a suspension of the gas tax, which he described as a political scheme that would save the average driver $25 to $28.

“It’s typical of how Washington works — let’s find some short-term, quick fix, even though we’re not really doing anything,” he said.

McCain and Clinton — employing the tactics of Hummer Salesman everywhere.

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Pierre lost all his feathers. Now he has a wet suit that allows him to swim with his padres.

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I wish the Animaniacs were still around just so we could see what their depiction of George W. Bush would be.

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Despite absolutely zero testimony regarding known voter fraud, the Republican inspired rules to require photo identification to in order to vote is upheld by the Supreme Court. Still think we can survive another four years with McCain?

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.

In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana’s strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to deter fraud.

It was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush.

The law “is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting ‘the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,'” Justice John Paul Stevens said in an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy.

But who is it protecting?

There is little history in Indiana of either in-person voter fraud – of the sort the law was designed to thwart – or voters being inconvenienced by the law’s requirements.

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This is why I have a coffee category.

If you prefer your coffee fresh-brewed when hiking, Spokane-based GSI offers a number of coffee solutions. If you want a steaming mug of Starbucks Yukon blend during your hike, toss your favorite lightweight stove into your pack, then add a GSI Lexan Javapress — a French-press style coffee maker.

Available in three sizes, the GSI Javapress is light, yet incredibly tough. The 10-ounce size proved to be perfectly sized for solo hikers wanting a single cup while the 33- and 50-ounce sizes can serve four to eight hikers at a time. I found the 10-ounce press, weighing a mere 8 ounces, a lightweight way to get fresh java while snowshoeing on Mount Rainier. The 10-ounce Javapress sells for $19.95, while the group-sized 50-ounce runs $29.95.

Of course, being Northwesterners, many of us are addicted to powerful espresso brews. Even here, we are covered in the backcountry. GSI’s stainless-steel Mini Expresso espresso makers sit atop pack stoves and pump out one to four shots of espresso at a time. The 4-cup Mini Expresso kicks out four flavorful shots during one brew cycle, and with a small 10-ounce box of soy milk, I was able to serve my friends fresh lattes at Panorama Point on Mount Rainier this winter. The 4-Cup GSI Mini Expresso runs $49.95. See http://www.gsioutdoors.com.

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In addition to low approval ratings, Bush’s appearance on the game show Deal or No Deal was the second to the worst viewed show of the show’s existence.

President Bush’s videotaped cameo on Monday’s “Deal or No Deal” didn’t spur much interest – tying the show’s worst-ever Monday-night performance.

Monday’s show averaged 10 million viewers, down 27 percent from its season average.

“I’m thrilled to be on ‘Deal or No Deal’ with you tonight. Come to think of it, I’m thrilled to be anywhere with high ratings these days,” Bush joked, referring to his historically low poll numbers.

I guess Neil Patrick Harris doesn’t have to worry about Bush making an appearance on How I Met Your Mother.

Via Wonkette.

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Ah, the good old U.S. of A. where you can buy 5 gallon containers of mayonnaise but you can’t buy more than 20 pounds of rice. For the less than 20 some odd percent of Americans out there that still think George Bush is doing a good job, what do you think of this:

The two biggest U.S. warehouse retail chains are limiting how much rice customers can buy because of what Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., called on Wednesday “recent supply and demand trends.”

The move comes as U.S. rice futures hit a record high amid global food inflation, although one rice expert said the warehouse chains may be reacting less to any shortages than to stockpiling by restaurants and small stores.

USA Rice Federation spokesman David Coia said there is no rice shortage in the United States.

“It’s possible that small restaurants and bodega-type neighborhood stores may be purchasing rice in larger quantities than they do typically to avoid higher prices,” Coia said about the warehouse chain restrictions.

I remember growing up during the Cold War and being reminded how great America was, because in Soviet Russia you had to wait in line to get necessities like bars of soap and food was rationed.

Thanks George!

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A 19th-Century puff-sleaved knockoff with a 3 inch curled back bang (fringe) worn by the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints women?

FLDS Polygamist Sect Women

Or a designer couture jilbab and hijab?


Above two photos via Kuwait-Style.

Last photo via Alixianne’s Photostream on Flickr.

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Really, Really Bad Food

An oldie but goody. You’ll especially like the commentary for each recipe card.

Weight Watchers Recipe cards from 1974. These cards mystify me. None of them have calorie or nutrition information of any kind, and in some instances it’s hard to tell what’s dietetic about the recipes at all, except that they’re unspeakably grim. And yet also, completely insane.

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Once again a joke article on the Onion becomes reality shortly afterwards.
Here’s an Onion piece about Al-Queda disputing 9/11 conspiracy theories.

And here’s a BBC news article about Al-Queda disputing 9/11 conspiracy theories.

hat tip to TPM

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Wounded Girl in IraqAn often used argument for electing women leaders around the world is that women by their nature are not warmongers and that the world would be more peaceful if ruled by women. It is said women and mothers in particular better understand the value of life because they have the ability to give life.

Yet in this election we have a woman, supported by many other women, who seems to be arguing that she should be elected president because she would lead this country, insofar as war is concerned, exactly as a man. Not only did she vote to give the Bush Administration war powers, and vote against delaying war powers were the U.N. to not authorize war, she now seems to be stirring the fires of a war with Iran.

Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on “Good Morning America” Tuesday. ABC News’ Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” Clinton said. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”

Aren’t we just finishing the eighth year of this macho bullshit of dick waving? Whatever happened to diplomacy? Whatever happened to women being reasonable enough to avoid a commonly considered shortcoming of men — that the answer is always to fight. Have we forgotten the very reason why women would make better leaders?

Photo via dpatterson.blogspot.com.

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A few months ago, we bought a region-free DVD and I was able to catch a film I hadn’t seen in years. Hobson’s Choice with John Mills and directed by David Lean. I risk spoiling a small part of the film just to get you interested and that is why I am showing this clip.

According to Dictionary.com, a Hobson’s choice is:

the choice of taking either that which is offered or nothing; the absence of a real alternative.

[Origin: 1640–50; after Thomas Hobson (1544–1631), of Cambridge, England, who rented horses and gave his customer only one choice, that of the horse nearest the stable door]

In the film, the daughter of a shop owner informs the boot maker of the shop that she’s been looking at him for a while and she’s decided he’ll do quite alright for a husband. She then tells him to meet her at the park which is where this clip starts.

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Thank you Marcella Proust for this.

I had to send you this quotation, which I got from the book I am teaching tomorrow, a book of poems by Yunte Huang called _Cribs_. It appears in a footnote to the poem. “Note–When Richard Nixon went to China in 1972, his Chinese hosts took him to see the Great Wall. The first thing Nixon said upon arrival was: ‘What a great wall.”

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Thanks to the New York Times, we now know that the Bush Administration has taken great care in fabricating a successful Iraq story by carefully manipulating the media. They trained former military officers who would be readily accepted by media outlets as “war analysts” to portray the constructed truth that the war was going well.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

It’s stunning that an administration so poor at executing a war could be so adept at politicking. If they only had the same level of ability in other areas what mountains they could move.

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“Pettin in the Park” from Goldiggers of ’33 is a great song and dance number. By today’s standards it’s surprisingly risque and subversive. Watch the whole thing.

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And oh so The Italian Job.

A stunt driver has crashed the car used by movie secret agent James Bond into Italy’s Lake Garda during filming of 007’s latest movie Quantum of Solace.

The driver was delivering the iconic Aston Martin DBS to the film scene in heavy rain when he lost control around one of the lake’s narrow curves.


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More opportunities to see our Greatest Living Actor. Click the picture for the link.

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My husband and I are looking to buy a new house. On March 6, 2008 we we’re pleasantly surprised that the cap for regular mortgages would be lifted from 417k to 567k — which is definitely an advantage when you live in Seattle where the average home sells for over 400 grand. Even the headline says “pleasantly surprised“:

Last month, Congress and President Bush approved a stimulus plan that included a provision raising limits on conforming and Federal Housing Authority loans from $417,000 and $362,000, respectively, to 125 percent of a metro area’s median home price, with a ceiling of $729,500, through the end of the year.

Based on initial calculations using data for King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, local real estate professionals expected the temporary limit to be about $493,000. The limit announced Thursday, however, is $567,500.

Shucks those guys are always looking for ways to “stimulate” the economy. I was surprised to find out from my lender that this is not nearly what it is dressed up to be. He wrote me:

Since we last spoke the conforming loan limits have changed to $567,000 in our area. For these new loan limits, lenders have created a new pricing tier that falls between the old conforming and Jumbo’s. Rates in this new tier are about 6.375-6.625%. In comparison, conforming rates are at about 5.75% and Jumbo rates are at about 7.5%.

If we didn’t want the middle tier rates he said we could:

There is one more way to structure this, but it’s not for everyone. What some buyers are doing is making the first mortgage $417,000 and then doing a 2nd mortgage behind it. This allows you to get conforming pricing.

I nearly flew out of my chair. Exactly what benefit is there to increasing the regular loan limit if the interest rate is higher over 417 anyway? Isn’t this work around the one we would have had to have done if they didn’t lift the 417 limit anyway? This is ridiculous.

His response:

Your question is exactly what we in the business have been asking each other as well. When we heard rumors that the limits were increasing we just assumed that the current conforming (417,000 or less) pricing would apply to these new loan amounts. That turned out to be not the case. Most lenders are calling this new program “Agency Jumbo”, Wells Fargo is calling it “Temporary Conforming”.

For god’s sake, what the hell do we pay Congress for when this is what they come up. This is almost as brilliant as changing the Daylight Savings Time in order to prevent global warming which by the way was a f-ing pain in the ass for anyone who works in technology.

Apparently, I’m not the only one less than dazzled.

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Electronic Waste

Green-minded consumers beware. Free electronics collection events touted as planet friendly aren’t always as ecologically sound as they seem, says a watchdog group focused on preventing the export of dangerous e-waste.

The trouble is it’s nearly impossible for well-meaning consumers to know what happens to the pollutants in the products they’re dropping off. The products can be shipped all over the world and pass through multiple handlers before reaching their final resting place.

I have to admit I’ve wondered this also. We took our stuff to recycle to a place that was packed absolutely to the brim with electronics. Every minute another customer came to drop something off. With all the stuff I was looking at, I wondered how they would be able to recycle everything and still keep the shop open.

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Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK, said the following:

“The world owes George Bush a huge debt of gratitude” for his efforts against terrorists.”

Did he mean to say Bush’s efforts to increase recruitment for said terrorists, because he’s been absolutely remarkable in that respect. What about Bush’s failure to capture number one terrorist Osama bin Laden?

It’s almost enough to make me Tory and I can’t even vote. Perhaps Brown should be reminded of Bush’s most recent approval rating in the U.S.

The latest Gallup poll finds that President Bush’s approval rating has fallen to 28 percent — “a record low” for his administration.

“It doesn’t take a genius of public opinion research to isolate some likely causes. Americans are deeply depressed about the economy, gas prices are at a record high, [and] there is a war still underway that a majority of Americans call a mistake.”

It may not take a genius, but clearly it doesn’t take a University of Edinburgh grad either.

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I’m too smart to have lied. That was answer Hillary Clinton gave when asked about how she could reconcile her credibility after misrepresenting her visit to Bosnia as First Lady.

Well, Tom, I can tell you that I may be a lot of things. But I’m not dumb. And I wrote about going to Bosnia in my book in 2004. I laid it all out there. And you’re right. On a couple of occasions in the last weeks, I just said some things that weren’t in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book.

This defense (I’m too smart) didn’t work for Martha Stewart and I doubt it’s going to get back Tom Rooney’s vote. In Stewart’s famous trial, her lawyer shockingly called only one defense witness and spent less than twenty minutes questioning them.

Instead, Mr. Morvillo simply presented the idea that the defendants were too smart to be involved in the conspiracy that the prosecution described, which he labeled ”a confederacy of dunces.”

”How could we tell anything about how smart either of them was if they never took the stand?” asked Amos Matthew Mellinger, 55, a freelance market researcher from Riverdale, the Bronx, who was Juror No.4 in the trial.

You wonder why this could ever be an effective defense of any crime. It’s like saying the guiltier I look the more likely it is that I didn’t do it.

Furthermore, Clinton defended her “misstatement” by referencing her own book where she describes what actually happened that day. Odd, given that the book itself was the smoking gun that proved she had lied. How can the passage in the book, the smoking gun that she lied, prove her innocence?

I don’t get it, and I don’t think the public will either.

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This is one of the sweetest stories I’ve ever heard, and so true to Seattle. A man falls in love with a woman he met on the bus, then he proposes to her — on the bus!

Apparently he had arranged with Metro that he would walk up to the front and take over the microphone on the arranged day. Once he sat down in the drivers seat he

He switched on the microphone, acknowledged he wasn’t a terrorist and began his speech.

“It’s been a great two and a half years and I love you so much. And I figure with everything you want me to fix about myself, it’s going to take another 40. So I guess what I’m getting to is that this is the point on the bus where I ask bus girl to become my bus wife.”

I have to admit I’m not usually a fan of public proposals since there is the inevitable tendency to out-do the last one, but given this was the bus the couple met on, it just seems so right.

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In last night’s Democratic debate the question was posed:

Governor Cuomo, on elder statesman in your party, has come forward with a suggestion. He has said, “Look, fight it to the end. Let every vote be counted. You can test every delegate. Go at each other right till the end. Don’t give an inch to one another. But pledge now that whichever one of you wins this contest, you’ll take the other as your running mate, and that the other one will agree, if they lose, to take second place on the ticket.”

So I put the question to both of you: Why not?

It may interest international readers to know that originally the runner up to the Presidential election was given the office of Vice President. I always make a disclaimer that Wikipedia is not necessarily accurate, but what else is a amateur blogger supposed to cite when writing at 10:30 at night. So here is the Wikipedia info for all those who are curious:

Under the original terms of the Constitution, the members of the U.S. Electoral College voted only for office of president rather than for both president and vice president. Each elector was allowed to vote for two people for the top office. The person receiving the greatest number of votes (provided that such a number was a majority of electors) would be president, while the individual who received the next largest number of votes became vice president.

The original plan, however, did not foresee the development of political parties and their adversarial role in the government. In the election of 1796, for instance, Federalist John Adams came in first, and Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson came second. Thus, the president and vice president were from opposing parties. Predictably, Adams and Jefferson clashed over issues such as states’ rights and foreign policy.

As this election shows even candidates from the same party whose policies are strikingly similar though whose philosophies at achieving those policies may differ, make this also an unforeseen difficulty.

This tumultuous affair led to the adoption of the Twelfth Amendment in 1804, which directed the electors to use separate ballots to vote for the president and vice president. While this solved the problem at hand, it ultimately had the effect of lowering the prestige of the vice presidency, as the office was no longer for the leading challenger for the presidency.

If no vice presidential candidate receives an Electoral College majority; The United States Constitution states that the Senate selects the Vice President. This is a curious anomaly since the sitting Vice President is also President of the Senate and would be called upon to break a tie vote, possibly for himself or his successor. The election of 1836 is the only election so far where the office of the Vice President has been decided by the Senate. During the campaign, President Martin Van Buren’s running mate Richard Mentor Johnson was accused of having lived with a black woman. Virginia’s 23 electors, who were pledged to Van Buren and Johnson, refused to vote for Johnson (but still voted for Van Buren). The election went to the Senate, where Johnson was elected, 33-17.

So there you have it. Mario Cuomo’s idea has already been exercised and quite frankly it’s not a good one.

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